Residents of Razack Palya are facing major health issues due to illegal burning of animal carcasses at bone-crushing factory.
By Ishika Dangayach
Bengaluru: Cattle-carcass-incineration at the bone-crushing factory in Razack Palya, near Yelahanka, is posing a threat to the environment and to nearby residents.
The illegal incineration process resumed following the closure of the bone-crushing unit by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) in April 2019. The factory doesn’t operate during the day, but illegal burning of carcasses still continues at night, residents nearby claim.
People living in the area, including the Army Welfare Housing Organization (AWHO), and several educational institutions said that the foul smell from the factory made their lives unbearable.
The factory uses carcasses of cattle for making fertilizers, by incinerating them for ash. Vasanth Vihar residents at Yelahanka complained about breathing problems, wheezing, skin itching, etc. due to the fumes. They appealed to the authorities and in April 2019, KSPCB shut the plant down.
Col D’Souza, a Vasanth Vihar resident said, “They have started burning the flesh again from 9:00 pm to 4:00 am. This is highly toxic, along with an unpleasant smell. We can feel the smoke in the air again.”
The stench is a nuisance for more than 400 army families living in the Army Welfare Housing Centre, Vasant Vihar, students from a neighboring engineering and other residents. They recently filed a complaint with the Bagalur Police.
Senior Citizens in Little Drops Old Age Home near Razak Palaya are also troubled. Volunteer Nurse Hemavati at the old age home said, “At night, we can smell the fumes. We have wheezing patients. We request the authorities to clear the mess and make this area free from this foul smell.”
On visiting the site, The Softcopy saw flesh dumped in the factory’s backyard. Labourers in the Razack Palaya factory, who stay close, claim that the flesh of cattle is collected and dumped into the field in Shivajinagar.
Ms. Thomas, another Vasant Vihar resident said, “Within our area, we have geriatric people. Because of the fumes they complain of cough, vomiting, wheezing and skin scratching. We have also seen labourers next to the factory.”
Shivappa Nayak, KSPCB regional officer said, “We had shut down the factory. The factory owners have relocated it from Razack Palya now. Like you say, the burning of cattle-carcasses has started again. But the region now comes under Bruhat Bengaluru MahanagaraPalike (BBMP) and Baglur Panchayat. So that’s not our duty anymore. The BBMP will look further into it. “
“Apart from these health hazards, there is a risk of bird-strike, as the bone-crushing unit is about 6 to 7 kilometres away from the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) path, and Yelahanka Air Force Station flight path. A lot of birds gather in the bone crushing factory as bones lay around the unit. The foul smell attracts birds which is a threat to fighter jets at Yelahanka Air Force station, which fly at high speed, at a relatively low altitude”, said an official at the airbase.
Umashankar Arun, an environmentalist said, “Ideally, incineration must always happen during non-windy times. The winds may carry stench to long distances. Following the incineration, the waste can be placed in a vermicompost and converted into manure. “
“The fumes pose major health hazards to the environment and residents nearby. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and BBMP can work together to address this issue,” he added.